Myanmar Junta Solar Projects Attract Only Two Bidders

By The Irrawaddy 13 October 2022

Only two companies in Myanmar have made bids for regime tenders for solar power projects, according to an investigation by The Irrawaddy.

In May, the regime cancelled tenders invited under the now-ousted National League for Democracy (NLD) government for 26 solar power projects after Chinese firms that won tenders stalled on the projects.

The NLD in May 2020 invited bids for the construction of 29 ground-mounted solar projects capable of generating a total of 1 gigawatt of power under a 20-year build, operate and own contract.

Chinese companies and their partners won the bids to build 28 out of the 29 plants, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy announced in September 2020.

The regime in June invited new tenders for 18 solar projects in Yangon, Naypyitaw, Mandalay, Ayeyarwady and Magwe regions capable of generating 610 megawatts.

The electricity ministry has received bids for only two solar projects in Yangon and Thazi Township in Mandalay Region, according to a leaked ministerial document, even after it extended the deadline for submissions.

Gold Energy Co, a subsidiary of Asia World Co, owned by crony Tun Myint Naing, and the Consortium of Zeya and Associated Co Ltd and Royal GK Pte Ltd made bids for the projects.

“Chinese firms did not compete because of security concerns. Other companies did not compete because they think the projects are not commercially feasible because of the volatile currency,” the director of a power company in Myanmar told The Irrawaddy.

Zeya and Associated is operating liquefied natural gas-fired power plants in partnership with Hong Kong-based VPower Co in Yangon.

Some 50 companies from China, India, Thailand, Japan and domestic joint ventures made bids for solar projects under the NLD government. The fact that only two companies made bids this time show investors’ lack of confidence in the regime, said the director.

The minimum investment was set at US$20 million per site, with each project expected to generate 30 to 40 megawatts.